As London staged its first ever International Shipping Week it was revealed that 85% believe it is globally competitive and 74% predict growth during the next five years.
One hundred and seventy five senior figures in UK shipping, ports and maritime business services have given an overwhelming vote of confidence for the sector’s increasing growth and success, in a survey released today by Maritime UK, to mark the start of the inaugural event.
The survey targeted heads and most senior leaders of organisations that have maritime operations based in the UK, including ship owners, port operators, maritime lawyers and insurers. The results also showed that 70% believe the UK economy was moving in the right direction.
Respondents shared their views on why the UK has remained one of the world’s premier maritime hubs. The most common reasons stated were the breadth of established and reputable maritime services available in London (legal, financial, business) – making it a ‘one stop shop’ for shipping; its profound experience in legal insurance and financial services for the maritime industry; the time zone – which makes it possible to do business in both Eastern and Western markets each day and the UK’s long maritime history – in which expertise has been passed down through generations – something emerging economies could not replicate.
Jim Stewart, Chairman of Maritime UK, said: “At the beginning of London International Shipping Week, industry leaders have given a ringing endorsement for the UK as a centre for maritime business. It is a sign that, despite a difficult economic environment, the industry is determined to carry on being the backbone of the British economy.”
But he warned: “The massive contribution this industry makes to the UK economy should never be taken for granted. The threat from emerging economies is real and significant. Industry and Government must focus their energies on ensuring that the UK remains one of the most competitive places in the world for international business – and that requires mature, cross-party consensus to build a stable, attractive environment.
“Shipping and other maritime services are big business here in the UK – it is a sector already worth up to £14bn per year to the economy and most importantly, it is a sector that is steadily growing. Our maritime services – comprising ports, shipping and business services – provide 263,000 jobs.
“Gross tonnage has more than trebled on the UK shipping register over the past decade and London remains the largest maritime centre in the world for professional, business and financial services.”